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Total says to resume South Sudan exploration soon

Total mulls restarting its exploration operation in South Sudan after it had stopped for over 27 years

Reuters, Saturday 4 Feb 2012

Total plans to restart exploration activities on its Block B concession in South Sudan after 27 years, the French oil major said in an emailed statement on Friday.

"A preparatory work program is to be soon submitted to South-Sudanese authorities for their approval. For this reason, it is premature at this stage to further comment on the subject," the company said.

Total holds a 32.5 per cent share of Block B, which is located in Jonglei State, near the Ethiopian border.

The company signed an exploration and production sharing agreement for the concession in 1980, but suspended operations in 1985 as insecurity in the region escalated due to the civil war, according to Total's website.

Total maintained its rights through a moratorium that was renewed annually.

South Sudan's chief negotiator Pagan Amum said on Tuesday Total had committed to begin exploring for oil soon in Jonglei state.

Any oil found in the Block B concession could feed a pipeline the company may build from South Sudan to Uganda and on to Kenya's coast.

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